Written & Lettered by Alex Giles
Illustrated by Oscar Perez
Coloured by Tiko Capdevila
A spate of grisly murders leads to a desperate plea for help from renowned monster hunter Betty ‘The Slayer’ Mitchell. This one is personal though, when she finds out that the brutal killer is none other than Spring-Heeled Jack. It was he that attacked Betty previously and led her to the path that she is now on, hunting down monsters of legend, and she wants some closure!
So this is only a five issue limited series and to be honest I was hoping that with the introduction of Betty and the man that started all this would be the entire run. While Alex does a great job with the story I was disappointed that it seems so very rushed, rushed in regard tot he fact that it seems he’s trying to throw as monsters into this as humanly possibly during the first arc. Don’t get me wrong what we’re seeing here is interesting and I do want to learn about Betty and her new assistant and was hoping that all this would be European centric but alas it turns out that wasn’t meant to be.
The opening here is great as we see Spring-heeled Jack in action and it’s the act of murder that happens in Aberdeen Scotland that draws Betty back to her home town. It is very well done and sets the stage nicely for what is to follow here. It would seem that Jack is equal parts mythological creature and human killer which is how he’s been able to function as well as he had. This era lends itself to so much promise when it comes to superstition and the promise of things that go bump in the night. Europe and London in particular had a history of serial killers long before we knew what was legend and what was real and I was really hoping this was going to address that.
So while Betty arrives in town things happen rather quickly and even before she can bring her stuff to her house Jack attacks. I would have thought this was the beginning of their dance but instead it’s over before it even begins. Though it is responsible for the introduction of her new assistant Ronald. In one aspect this really does feel like Tia Carrera's Relic Hunter and I actually applaud that but then I'd hope that we’d at least get one monster per issue at the least. Still while I think it’s being rushed the story doesn’t suffer from it’s fast pacing. There are plenty of surprises and opportunities for the reader to be thrilled by what we see. There’s also the hope that th3ere will be at least one monster worthy of a longer lasting fight.
The interiors here are really well done. Oscar’s linework and the varying weights of that we see can go from subtle to bold and everywhere in-between so that it has great impact. Also he’s not afraid to use backgrounds to their fullest effect in expanding the moment and setting the stage for what we need or want so the time period is a part of the story. The way that page layouts are utilised so that we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows a solid eye for storytelling. Then there is the creativity and imagination on display that is really nice to see as well. While I do find it hard to believe that Betty is able to wear pants like she does I won’t question their effectiveness.
So here we go in 1830 something and the world is magical and dangerous place to be. Betty however with her past and how she got started in all this remains a woman of mystery and danger herself. Her travels all over the world has introduced her to some of the brightest minds of the time, some we’ll be seeing. While this may be a roller coaster whirlwind of a ride it’s also one that will thrill fans of Penny Dreadful, the Frankenstein Chronicles and the like.
Proof positive that Markosia is home to some fine storytelling.